Tag Archives: Ranch

Prickly pear fruit

There is a super-abundance of prickly pear fruit this year. I have never seen the eruption of fruit like this year. I buy an Italian sweet soda made of prickly pear. ‘Tis the season! It is 102F in field at 7:04 p.m.




Filed under Life in Balance, Plants and Shrubs, Salt Creek, Succulents

Rare the white buffalo

On the highway to Lubbock from Hermleigh, Texas, there is a byway that goes west to a marker for the white buffalo.  I have visited it once, but I do not see any markers these days to the monument of the white buffalo.  The monument may not be standing anymore since vandals have besmirched much of the statues and markers here in west Texas.

That being written, in Connecticut, a white buffalo has been born.  One in ten million the odds.  See the article in The New York Times:  White Buffalo,


Good, let us now praise a beautiful calf, and if it is born in Connecticut, so much the better.



Filed under Life in Balance

Spring Flowers in Texas

Stork's Bill (Erodium texanum) April 2010

Here is Stork’s Bill or Pine Needle (Erodium texanum) found here on Flying Hat.  It is an annual herb, member of the Geranium family, most of which are found in Europe and South Africa [C. and L. Loughmiller, Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide, p. 104; H. Irwin and M. Wills, Roadside Flowers of Texas, pp. 140-41.]

Scarlet Paintbrush or Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja indivisa) April 2010

These Indian Paintbrushes are uncommon on Flying Hat.  I found most of these in the Pecan Tree Pasture and not many of them.  The Blue Place, the family to the east of us, has a field that is quite loaded with the paintbrushes.  I have a photograph of the Blue field and will post it in the future.

Purple Vetch (Vicia dasycarpa) with Bee April 2010

This vetch, Purple Vetch (Vicia dasycarpa), is not the poisonous variety. Notice the bee that is pollen-gathering.  The spring rains have been so abundant that the vetch is knee-high in my fields and the Blue Place, to the east of us, has vetch that is chest-high as it climbs on the field fence.  As I say, this is not the poisonous variety and the bees love to gather pollen from it.

Wooly Milkvetch (Astragalus mollissimus), Wooly Locoweed (NPIN Image Gallery, Lady Bird Johnson Center)

This is a photograph of the poisonous variety of vetch that we do not have on the ranch.   From Irwin and Wills, Roadside Flowers of Texas, p. 138:  “Of the nearly 1000 species of Astragalus, over 200 occur in the United States, about 35 of them in Texas.  The members of the genus that are poisonous to livestock are called Locoweeds, while the harmless ones are known as Milk-vetches.  In the former category is the Woolly Loco of the Panhandle and Trans-Pecos area, a tufted, soft-hairy, deeply rooted perennial with dense racemes of purplish flowers in the late spring.  Quite innocuous looking to the eye, the Woolly Loco is among the ‘early risers’ in the spring, and so tempts cattle, even though its taste is so disagreeable that they normally avoid it.  Later, in periods of drought when grasses succumb, the persistent Woolly Loco remains, seemingly unaffected.  Nor are browsing animals the only ones concerned.  The nectar contains poisonous substances, sometimes causing decimation of bee populations.”

In talking with Roland Stroebel today, my colleague at the college who tends Angus cattle, our non-poisonous Purple Vetch is abundant on his place also, but does not cause a problem for his browsing livestock.  Roland’s ranch is south of Cisco, Texas, and his family goes back several generations.


Filed under Plants and Shrubs